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Johnston Council Holds Regular Meeting at Johnston Learning Center, Receives Tour

By Anne Waits
web posted August 14, 2014

JOHNSTON   The Johnston Town Council met for its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night, but instead of meeting at Town Hall they met at the Johnston Learning Center on Cardinal Drive. Mayor Terrence Culbreath said he wanted visitors and Council members to have a chance to see what is taking place at the Learning Center. Edgefield County School Superintendent Greg Anderson welcomed everyone and gave some brief information about the Learning Center.

Jack Reece said the late Fred McLaurin, former principal at the old primary school, would have been pleased.

During the business portion of the meeting, Council approved the July 14, 2014 minutes and the July 2014 financial report.

In old business, Council considered bids for asbestos sampling of the old National Guard Armory. "It's a great building to hold functions," said the mayor. "I think we need to test it and see where we stand."

In last month's meeting, Council had brought up bids from two companies, one being much cheaper than the other. After the meeting, it was discovered that D&H Associates, Inc., with the lower bid of $1,200, was the company Council had used in 2005 to have the building tested. However, too much time had elapsed and a new one would be necessary. Council member Tommy Stone made a motion to have D&H Associates do the sampling and it was seconded by Council member Tyra Miller. The vote was unanimous.

Under new business, Council considered a new copier for the clerk's office. Town clerk Frances Quarles informed Council that currently the Town is under a lease with Richoh and it would cost to get out of the lease, which will be up in February.

"We're getting by right now with the one we have," said Quarles. "We just need a more modern, upgraded copier with a fax and scanner." It was mentioned that the Police Department also uses the copier and everything they send to SLED needs to be faxed. Quarles said they have looked at some copiers and wanted to go with Zerox when the lease is up.

Miller suggested they get a cheaper, more isolated scanner to take care of their needs until February and then enter into a contract with Zerox. Council voted to go with this suggestion.

Still under old business, Council discussed changing the personnel policy in the way police officers are paid for holidays. Currently, all the police officers get paid holidays. That means the ones who work on holidays get paid the same thing as ones who don't work. Several Council members expressed that they thought that was unfair and that those who work on holidays should get paid double. After confirming that there was enough in the overtime budget to cover the change, Council voted to approve on First Reading Ordinance #2014-03, Personnel Policy Change to Reflect Change in Holiday Pay for Police Officers.

Under Office of Town Council, Council member Tommy Burton stated that he wanted an update on the letters being sent out concerning the clean-up of dilapidated or overgrown properties in town. Mayor Culbreath said he would have that at next month's meeting.

Under the Mayor's Report, Culbreath said he was looking at hiring a part-time officer a few days a week to help with clean-up, festivals and other needed times."Currently, Corporal Lott is dividing his time between these matters and his job and he does a fine job, but he needs to be able to concentrate solely on his work," the Mayor said.

The mayor said he was looking at a retired person out of Batesburg and had offered him the position. He will not start until September.

He stated he has already hired two new police officers to complete the staff.
Following the meeting, light refreshments were served and those who desired were offered a tour of the building.

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